Greensburg, IN - Greensburg Mayor Joshua Marsh has released the 2021 State of the City Address. The following is a transcript of his video address to the Greensburg Rotary Club:
I’m honored to be sharing the 2021 State of the City address with you. Many changes have happened in our city, and our team at the City of Greensburg has worked tirelessly to improve and grow our community, despite everything 2020 tried to throw at us.
Last year, instead of giving a traditional State of the City address, I shared my administration’s 100 Day plan and our goals for 2020. I am excited to come before you today to share the accomplishments of our city over the last year, and share that the State of the City is strong.
2020 was, and I’ll use everyone’s favorite term, an ‘unprecedented time’. Our community was hit hard by coronavirus very early on, our local businesses struggled, schools closed, and we had to learn a new normal—yet, despite all of this, our community has weathered the storm. We have now come to the point where vaccines are available to our vulnerable populations, healthcare workers and first responders. Businesses and schools are open, and we are continuing to take it all in stride.
While other communities across the state may have run into roadblocks and difficulties in 2020, Greensburg was able to continue work on major projects and improve upon our city to better serve our residents. This includes the financial state of the city, which is also very strong. We stayed on budget, and ended 2020 in the green. We took measures early in the budget process for 2021 by reducing expected income by 10 percent. Even with the reduction, we balanced every fund and set aside more money for programs and infrastructure improvements in all areas of our community. With strong finances from 2020 and well-planned investments for 2021 and beyond, all of our departments can focus on providing be best service possible.
Our law enforcement officers and first responders have worked harder than ever in the face of adversity. Our men and women in uniform with both the Greensburg Police Department and the Greensburg Fire Department have undergone extensive training, and have taken advantage of continuing education and training opportunities and updated our policies and procedures. This includes the creation of a Health and Wellness Policy that focuses not only on the physical health of our city’s first responders, but also provides services for mental health. This policy makes us one of only a few departments in the country to have it included-- but more importantly, it makes us a community that ensures that our teammates have access to the care they need. Other additions to our public safety sector include new hires, updated vehicles and the addition of a tanker truck in partnership with Washington Township, and an updated internal infrastructure. Our police department was designated as the nation’s only law enforcement agency that has been named as an official Autism center, began a food pantry for our local school systems for children and families in need, and had record breaking drug busts and arrests throughout the year. Our fire department updated their mission, vision and values and brought in outside agencies to give firefighters the opportunity to do more training.
Greensburg’s utility infrastructure, which is something that our residents may not see every day, underwent numerous upgrades in 2020. Our utility office has worked towards making paying your water bill easier and convenient, with an easy-to-use online payment portal on the city website. A new meter reading hardware and software has been utilized and provides a quicker response time and can be repaired on sight, which gives residents a better customer service experience. More than 700 feet of water main was installed and replaced across the city, with many services and valves also replaced and updated. Our new water plant, which is close to completion, will be online in the next few months. The new water treatment facility will allow us to treat more water as our community grows. We are very excited to see this project come to completion and come online to serve Greensburg. We look forward to welcoming the community to the site when it is completed in its entirety.
Along with updating our water infrastructure, our road infrastructure has undergone some major changes as well. 2020 saw the largest amount of pavement preservation work the city has ever been done in a single year. More than 15 miles of pavement were milled, patched, and replaced in our known problem areas- this even includes the creation of corresponding sidewalk curb ramps. We have worked with the State of Indiana to look at the reconstruction of major roadways that include new pavement, improved storm drainage, sidewalks and LED street lighting. We also saw the final phase of construction start on Veterans Way, with a completion date of fall 2021, which will connect State Road 3 to US Highway 421, connecting two large travel corridors to create a new area for business and residential development.
Park Road was submitted to the state for major improvements that would include a multiuse path and lighting to provide residents with a safe connector to downtown Greensburg. The city completed the final steps to design and acquire land for Pirate Park, a new community green space and soccer complex to be located by Greensburg Community High School and Rebekah Park. Our goal is to make Pirate Park a regional destination for tournaments to bring visitors and tourism to our community. Not only do we have Pirate Park to add to our tourism check list, but we also have the planned addition of the Inclusion Park, a project headed by Police Chief Brendan Bridges. The Inclusion Park is a necessary part of our city, as it gives those with intellectual and physical disabilities the space to come together and interact with folks from across our community. The City of Greensburg is proud to sponsor both of these park additions and look forward to their completion.
We also held the groundbreaking for the airport expansion in the fall of 2020, a project that has been in the works for 20 years. Spanning multiple mayoral administrations, we have worked hard to bring new industry to Greensburg, but many of these industries require an accommodating airport close by for transportation needs. In order to attract new industries, new jobs, and even new housing, we need to grow and expand as a community, and this includes our airport.
2020 brought changes to our city’s infrastructure, including major changes in City Hall. Our city website was rebuilt from the ground up, to provide residents with a quick and easy experience that improves transparency. Our new city website has online service forms, payment portals, necessary information and a ‘coming soon’ citizen reporter that residents can use to file concerns on property issues, potholes, drainage and other areas of community interests.
City Hall, at the end of 2020, began the renovation process to the building. Since the initial renovation to the building over 15 years ago, City Hall has not seen any major upgrades. The HVAC system, along with other mechanical systems, have not been updated since the 1990s. Renovations include a new HVAC system, roof, addition of a fire suppression system, plumbing, Utility payment drive through and IT infrastructure. The most visible change that residents and visitors will see upon entering City Hall will be the front entrance and lobby area. It will be completely reconfigured to have two new reception desks and security, with a new conference room and waiting area. We are hoping to see this as a finished project by the end of 2021, and we cannot wait to welcome the public back into City Hall.
For 2021 these projects are just the start. We again have planned for record setting investment in programs and improvements to the community. I remain committed to helping our public safety teams connect with members of our community, improving our infrastructure, working to better the quality of life through community investments and make sure that the work being done by all of our departments are shared. I encourage you connect with the city on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
2020 was a challenging year to be a new mayor, or a returning Mayor. I have had the privilege to talk with and share successes and failures with my fellow mayors across the state and overall, everyone struggled-- though I believe we as a community faired better than most. This is because our community has a big heart and can lift each other up when we struggle. For that, I am fortunate to have had your faith and confidence through the last year and look forward to brighter 2021 for all of us.
Together, as a community, we can do so much. Our team at the City of Greensburg is excited to continue serving the community and working with you, our residents, to keep Greensburg on the path for growth. We have made incredible bounds forward in 2020, and we will continue to progress in 2021.